The academic world is throwing down the gauntlet to human resources (HR) teams to move past their traditional compliance roles and become the drivers of sustainability.
Whether it be the people recruited, the training offered, the sourcing of suppliers or the ethical treatment of employees, HR has the power to play a critical role in the transition to a more sustainable existence.
RMIT University Management Senior Lecturer Dr Annie Delaney is one of the few academics exploring this emerging field.
Delaney is the lead educator of the free online course Sustainable business through green HR, starting on Monday 3 April, which aims to open the eyes of HR personnel around the world.
She says green HR functions are no different to normal HR functions, but they are done in a way to support the organisation to move to a more sustainable state.
“It’s a shift in attitude and a shift in how you design processes,” Delaney said.
“Instead of sending out buyers to source the cheapest price, you have to ensure that there is no use of toxic chemicals, there is a reduction in waste, consider how suppliers are being paid, and so on
“Leadership is really critical. But wherever that initial idea comes from, all HR functions can be shifted to focus on meeting the organisation’s sustainability objectives.”
Green HR is a comprehensive approach that ensures sustainable business practices are rolled out and ingrained across the organisation, not just spoken about without any accountability.
“Consumers have very real concerns and expectations, so companies that don’t follow through will be left behind,” Delaney said.
“The trendsetters will be the ones who put these sustainable practices in place.
“Some companies will need to be shaken up and shown how things will be done in the future and others will do it willingly. But hopefully both will get to the same end.”
How can your organisation put green HR into practice? RMIT’s free online course Business Futures: Sustainable business through green HR starts on Monday 3 April, 2017.
This course will:
- explore what constitutes sustainability from both ecological and business perspectives
- investigate the emergence of sustainable approaches to human resources
- identify various sustainability models
- examine the fashion industry as a case study
- demonstrate practical ways to make sustainable businesses work
Learn about emerging business trends – This course is one of three in the Business Futures series from RMIT University hosted through FutureLearn. In every course, you will be guided by academics from the College of Business. Plus you’ll hear from successful businesses about how they’re adapting to these trends.
Story: John Fergusson